Summer is coming! That means I can either cry about it, or get ready to make the most of it. So... I decided to make the most of it. Besides, how boring is crying about it? Summer always brings an irrational need to go camping. Something about childhood memories of trout fishing and fried potatoes; of picking wild raspberries and piling in the tent together to tell ghost stories by flashlight. For some reason, the thought of me camping makes my husband laugh uncontrollably... I don't know why. I just remind him of our early years as newly weds with no money, of borrowing his uncle's camper and heading into the Graham Mountains for our first vacations.
Why is it I don't camp more often? Oh, yeah... the shower thing.
This year, I'm going camping... no matter what! I even made a list of things to get ready for the big event. My first preparation was to buy a Dutch oven— no, not one of those fancy French things with pretty Caribbean colors that is so beautiful you don't want to get it dirty— a real, authentic, no nonsense, American workhorse Dutch oven with actual "feet" ( the American part) that can turn a campfire into the French Laundry... well, maybe not.
So, how do you like my new toy? Isn't she beautiful? Can you believe I cooked this Bananas Foster Cake in my Dutch oven? Well, I did! Notice how beautifully it turned out of the oven... how "caramelie" the brown sugar and bananas got. It was a hit with my family even if I do say so myself .
I do have to come clean, tho'. The recipe is not mine. It came from Gary Wilkens, three time Arizona Dutch Oven Cooking Champion and Co founder of the Arizona Chapter of International Dutch Oven Society, in other words, Dutch oven chef extraordinaire. I was lucky enough to spend time with him while he was cooking for a group of about thirty Boy Scout leaders at a Camporee just outside Phoenix. Yes, in the desert outside Phoenix, in the heat, with the snakes... real snakes... rattle snakes. What I do for the sake of this blog!
Gary knew I needed an easy recipe to brush up on my Dutch oven skillz (yes, I have skillz, what kind of Southwestgirl would I be if I didn't have Dutch oven skillz?) so, he gave me this Bananas Foster Cake recipe to try out on my unsuspecting family. He also gave me all kinds of tips on how to get champion results with your outdoor Dutch oven.
Directions for Easy Banana Cake Baked in a Dutch Oven
Bananas turn brown quickly so the first thing I did was mix up the cake mix. I added the eggs called for in the recipe, but if you are entering a Chuck Wagon competition, you must leave them out.
Next, I melted the butter and the brown sugar together in the bottom of the Dutch oven and sprinkled in the cinnamon.
I sliced the bananas on a bias...
and tossed them into the yummy butter and sugar. I stirred mine around until coated with the butter mixture... not too long tho', I didn't want the bananas to be too soft after the cake was baked. About two to three minutes.
Next, I poured the cake batter over the bananas and...
folded the carmel and bananas into the cake. Don't worry, the bananas settle back to the bottom and leave a little of the brown sugar flavor in the caked mix.
I put the lid on the Dutch oven and place over the coals, arranged the coals on top and let 'er bake. About 35 to 40 minutes. When it was finished, I ifted the Dutch oven off the coals and carefully removed the lid with out getting the ashes in the banana cake.
I let the cake rest a few minutes then turned it out onto the Dutch oven lid (I was being authentic, but you can use a serving dish if you want.)
Easy Dutch Oven Banana Cake Recipe
1 prepared yellow cake mix
1 lb. brown sugar
½ 1b. margarine
5 lb. bananas
3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional)
¼ cup rum (optional)
Heat a 12-inch Dutch oven and cover with coals for 15 minutes. Slice bananas crosswise and set aside.
Prepare cake mix according to package directions and set aside. Remove preheated oven from coals and melt margarine in bottom. Add brown sugar and mix well. Add bananas and sauté for three minutes over fire. Remove from the fire and add rum, if desired. Stir until the rum is heated and flambe. Pour cake mix over bananas. Fold banana/sugar mixture up over cake mix a few times. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake 35 to 50 minutes at 350°. For the first 10 minutes use coals on the bottom only, then add coals to the top and continue baking until done.
To make sure the heat is 350 degrees, Gary recommends using the “3 up and 3 down rule” to maintain a 350° baking temperature. That means, for example, if you have a 12-inch Dutch oven, you place 12 charcoal briquettes plus three more on top of the oven and 12 briquettes minus three under the oven to achieve 350°. To increase the temperature, you add one briquette to the top and one to the bottom for every additional 25 degrees. This enables you to control the temperature.
-posted by Sandy
WAIT - I haven't read the newspaper yet today . . . Was the headline "Hell Freezes Over?" 'Cuz that's when I thought you'd like camping!!!
Your cake looks fantastic ~ and everything tastes better when you're roughing it!
...so you aren't a city-girl at heart? Your inner cowgirl/camp cook came through with this recipe (and the commentary). Now I can't wait to try your easy banana cake in my galley oven - minus the campfire and coals.
Seattle Dee - Campfire free ~ Smart. Very Smart.
Seattle Dee, Yes! I guess I am a true Southwest girl! The Banana Cake works really well in the oven, you can even use one of those French, citified, Dutch ovens if you want. The cake comes out really, really moist either way.
This looks great... all I have to do now is convince my nana to part with her Dutch Oven! 😀
Tiffany, Your Nana's Dutch oven is a real treasure... and so are the many stories you can share with her about it.
I think there are some typos in this recipe. I tried it accordingly and had a big soupy cakey mess. It calls for 1/2 LB of butter, 1 LB of brown sugar, & 5 LBS of bananas. After attemping this 1/2 CUP of butter, 1 CUP of B. sugar and 5 bananas seems like it would work a whole lot better.
Tony- I am so sorry that you did not have a good outcome with this recipe. Thank you for the feed back. I reviewed my notes from the recipe and they are correct per the Dutch oven cook I got them from so, I'm sure that's what I used.
I will not have time to remake the cake tomorrow( Sunday June 26th), but I will make it again next weekend to make sure.
May I ask if you used a 12 inch Dutch oven? And if you used coals or the oven? Since the cake is meant to be baked over the coals in a Dutch oven, it might make a difference.
I will let you know as soon as I can.
Thank you again for letting me know. I like to hear from the people who take the time to make the recipes... especially if they are disappointed or I need to change something.
I will get back to you soon,
Sandy - Did you ever retest this recipe with the measurements you listed? I'm cooking this on Saturday with some Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts. Also, are the 5 lbs of bananas measured with the banana peels on or off the bananas?
Hi Margi, Thanks for asking! Yes! I have made the cake several times in fact, I made it tonight after I saw your email.. just to be sure. The typo on the amount of butter has been fixed and I added some tips for making the cake in a smaller Dutch oven. The bananas are weighed with the peels and the stems on. I weigh them on the grocery store scale, it's easier that way. Bananas are all a different size so it is hard to give a number of bananas. Hope you love the cake!
I was thinking of making this cake for a group but I am too scared to. 5 pounds of bananas is approximately 15 bananas. That can't be right.
I see where Sandy commented that the typo in the butter amount was corrected, but it still shows 1/2 pound of margarine. That is two full sticks. Is that right?
Comparing this to a similar banana upside down cake recipe, they use one stick of butter and seven bananas which seems more reasonable. They also call for 1-1/2 cups of brown sugar, not a full pound of brown sugar. That is a big difference.
Sandy, I am sure you checked the quantities, but could you also double check the units. Something sure seems amiss.
Hi Bill, I just got your question. Yes, that is how much I use but, I have a very large Dutch oven that I use for cooking over a campfire. It says it's 14 inches in diameter but, I may have to measure it. If you aren't sure, by all means cut back on the amount of butter and bananas! Use enough bananas to cover the bottom of the pan and enough butter to make a nice sauce with the brown sugar. I hope you like it. And, thanks for asking about this recipe I will measure the pan and make adjustments if necessary.
I have tried this recipe before, as per your instructions, and it came out perfect! We love it so much, I am making it again this weekend. I also use a very large dutch oven. Thank you for this recipe!
Hi Susan! I'm so glad you liked the recipe! I love using large Dutch ovens,,, if you are going to all that trouble, why not go big?
Andrew @ Dutch Oven For Beginners
This looks absolutely delicious! I will have to try cooking it then share it! This look and sounds too good not to!
Thanks for sharing it!